Before they get started, some people worry if they have what it takes to be an entrepreneur. If this is you, stop worrying. We firmly believe anyone with the desire and the initiative can be an entrepreneur. And since you purchased this book, it’s likely you have both the desire and the initiative. But just because you can be an entrepreneur doesn’t mean that now is the right time to take the plunge. This chapter will help you determine if you’re ready for entrepreneurship right now or if you should hold off for a bit. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people start their own businesses. But while most succeed (yes, that’s the truth!), many do fail. Why? One of the common causes of startup failure is lack of preparation. Increasingly, some start fresh out of college or after a stint at home raising their kids or simply because the idea of actually retiring is abhorrent to them. Most, though, come to entrepreneurship straight out of the work force. And many of them dabble in their would-be business before they take the plunge completely, testing ideas on the side, while maintaining a day job. Quitting a full-time job to start a business isn’t something to be taken lightly. You should be sure now is the right time to get started. First, you need to ask yourself some questions: Do I have enough money? If you have a family, are they ready for this? Is there a need for a product or service like mine? Many successful entrepreneurs say a sense of urgency that made starting their businesses not just a desire but a necessity was their driving force. One entrepreneur’s advice: “You’ll know the time is right when you can honestly say ‘I’ll put my house, jewelry, and other personal collateral on the line to attain the startup money I need for the long-term rewards I deserve.’” We’re not recommending you put up your home (though more than a few entrepreneurs started that way). But that willingness to risk everything likely means you’re ready to start now. What motivates potential entrepreneurs to stop daydreaming about business ownership and actually do something about it? While many people think one single incident—such as getting fired or being passed over for a promotion—is the impetus for becoming your own boss, most experts agree it’s usually a series of frustrations that leads to entrepreneurship. it’s usually a series of frustrations that leads to entrepreneurship. A fundamental desire to control their own destinies ranks very high on most entrepreneurs’ lists of reasons for starting their own businesses. This need is so strong that entrepreneurs will risk family, future, and careers to be their own boss. Unable to feel truly fulfilled working for someone else, these individuals cannot be happy following someone else’s plan or taking orders from a boss. They’re often convinced that they have a better way, or an idea that would really revolutionize their industry—or at least their little corner of it—and working within a corporate structure is simply stifling that improvement. But opportunity comes in many guises. It might be when potential customers start calling you, or perhaps a business in your area is failing and you know you can make it work. Or maybe you feel as if you’re underemployed (working below your potential salary or your skill level) or not putting your skills and talents to their best use. Perhaps there’s a need for the product or service you want to provide. Or you’ve simply figured out a better or a new way to do something. Once you’ve made the decision to break away, there are several things you should do before taking the next step. Conducting thorough market research is a must. Make sure you have enough cash—not only for the business, but to sustain your life—and discuss the decision with your family. Remember, the rewards of small-business ownership are not instantaneous. You must be determined, patient, persistent, and willing to make sacrifices to ensure those rewards eventually do come.